Happy Birthday, Devin the Dude! 8 Important Life Lessons from the Legend
Happy Birthday, Devin "the Dude!" The Houston rap legend turns 47 today (June 4.)
Devin Copeland is one of the most gifted storytellers in rap music. Witty, engaging, insightful and downright funny, Phonte once referred to the Houston-reared rhymer as "that cool ass uncle at the family barbeque you love to clown around with," and the assessment is accurate. Devin’s keen perceptiveness probably one of his best characteristics as an MC, and over the years he’s doled out a lot of advice you should probably follow.
We’ve dug through our favorite Devin rhymes ever, and come away with eight examples of The Dude's best life advice.
On his 2002 album, Just Tryin Ta Live Devin dropped the gem, “Fa Sho” featuring Odd Squad. On the surface, it’s simply a song about a sneaky woman getting over on a man who strayed, and the importance of remaining loyal to your woman at home. Translation: stop screwing around on your woman because you might get burnt.
But this is Devin we’re talking about, so let’s dig a little deeper.
“F-ckin over ya fo sho p---y tryin’ ta get some more p---y. You’ll end up with no p---y.”
In other words, don’t stray from what’s real, looking for greener grass on the other side because chances are—it ain’t greener. In fact, it’s probably only green in patches while the rest of the grass is that ugly yellow-brownish color that’ll get you ticketed by the homeowner’s association in the summer. Beyond relationship advice, the song can actually be applied to anything in your life that’s stable--people, things, situations. Be wise in your decision to move aggressively in another direction and always be aware of not taking things for granted, because chances are, you’ll end up lonely and sad.
“Me and my gal, we been apart for a while/Yeah, I miss her kiss and I kinda miss her smile. But I'm the one who f---ed up/ Walkin' round with a big head…”
Oh, poor, lonely Devin. Don’t let that be you— takin’ your "fa sho" for granted, because you’ll probably end up with nothing.
Devin really loves his beat up ride, so much so that in 2002, he made a song about how fine he feels about rollin’ in it with “Lacville 79” (which was inspired by 98’s “Peace of Mind” where the hook first showed up as line in Devin’s first verse.)
Is the car a verifiable beater? Hell yes. Check out what the Dude hears when he’s driving it:
“I hear bumps and crunks, pings and ticks and dings. I got a whole in muffler and other minor things. Like my electrical rear view mirror don’t move like it’s sposed ta/even the objects in that mothaf---a need to be closer...”
Still, he's “smokin’ weed and feelin fine” in his Lacville ‘79.
“I’m satisfied with my ride, I don’t ask much/But people talk and they diss, they heckle and laugh, but…”
You’d do well to do the same by appreciating what makes you happy, even if other people down you for it. You know what you got, right? So who cares what anyone else thinks?
“Write & Wrong” from Devin’s debut solo album is pretty much offering advice to wannabe rappers. He covers writer’s block extensively (“Share your problems with the world, tell the story of your life/All you gots to do is write”).
He also talks about the ins and outs of remaining true to your creativity and the downside of what can happen if your compromise your art for fame. But again, this song goes beyond the surface, and its principles can be applied to creatives in virtually any field.
“Try your best to remember, don't worry now on how it sounds/It's gonna be cool, and if you gonna keep rappin, it's on/Just sacrifice your life and leave your problems at home/Now there's a million muthaf---as like yourself think they deserve it/If they get it before they do, they got to get they hands dirty/So just study these lines and make sure you don't forget it.Get on the mic and spit it, whatever you do, I'm with it”
On “Only Your Mother,” a song that's featured on Scarface’s Balls and My Word (basically unreleased songs following the critical success of The Fix), Devin waxes poetic in true Devin fashion. The song also featuring Memphis spitter Tela is nothing that new-- girl ignores boy, boy gets rich and famous, girl wants boy. But Devin, as usual, stands out, and offers a funny verse while serving up some good general life advice in the process-- don’t let folks treat you like a doormat.
"Now you lookin for a shoulder to lean and bitch/I sure hate it, cuz my s--- is dislocated..."
If someone has wronged you, don’t keep letting them take advantage of your kindness, and offering them your shoulder. You need your shoulder.
There might not be a more characteristically “Devin” jam than 1998’s “Boo Booin” off of his self-titled debut. Over a groovy bass track with funky guitar licks, Devin weaves a comical tale about three different folks trying their best to get him involved in some shenanigans. But alas, he tells them to fall back, and while they’re off doing whatever is that they’re doing, he’ll just be in the bathroom..."boo-booin.'"
While the song encourages healthy bowels, mostly it’s just urging folks to calm the hell down sometimes, brush silliness off your shoulder and most importantly, mind your own damn business, especially when there’s shenanigans afoot. Just tell whoever it is that you seriously would love to, except you’re not available right now because you know--you gotta go boo boo.
Super annoying rapper wanna battle you? Nope. I’m boo boo’n, homie. Crazy chick seeking revenge for an ill-fated relationship? Sorry, ma’am. I’m boo boo’n! Works like a charm.
Also, this song also delivered one of the funniest lines ever.
“With the east coast flow, west coast body language/Don’t know nothin but the south, tryin to find someone to hang wit/Man whenever you finish flowin’ or whatever the f--- that you doin, holla at me, I’ll be in the bathroom, boo boo’n.”
“Whatcha gonna do when the people go home and you wanna smoke weed but the refers all gone?”
One of the markers of Devin’s career is his songs where he offers straight-up, unfiltered life advice. That’s exactly what he did over 2002’s DJ Premier-produced “Doobie Ashtray.”
He warns the listener about feeling yourself a little too much and finding fulfillment in material things without taking stock of character of the people who have been enticed by your faux-popularity.
“You look back and you try to catch someone’s attention for help/you made a right at the light and they made a left and you ask yourself…”
In other words, don’t surround yourself with people who are gonna kick you when your down. We all know ‘em. That one shady dude who has the nerve to take the herb out of the doobie ashtray. Who does that?
But alas, Devin doesn’t leave us completely hopeless. At the end, he finds a bag of weed. And it even smells pretty good.
One of the main themes in Devin’s songs has been to be grateful. “Anythang” from his 2004 Release, To Tha X-treme is best offering on the subject. Over the Cory Mo produced-track, Devin lets his signature crooning do the talking. “Anythang is plenty mane/Ain is better than nan, nothin’ at all.”
Feeling sorry for yourself?
“You ain’t the only one who has problems/You ain’t the only one who knows pain.”
So what exactly should you do when problems arise?
“Get up off your ass and just solve them/You still have a chance to try to change.”
And what if you fail?
“Try the sh-t again.”
Yep, “Do What You Wanna Do” from his debut is Devin’s best life advice song ever, mostly because it’s instruction is so basic—do what you wanna do. As long as you’re not harming the people around you, live your life, homie. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to deal with the repercussions of your decisions. And you’re also the one who will spend your life wallowing in regret if you’re constantly trying to please other people and denying what feels right to your soul.
“Everybody’s got elders and we should respect ‘em/They’ve been through similar shit but then again we can’t let them put their hands on your life like a remote control/have you travelin’ down the same bumpy, tore up roads…”